by M. B. Miller
College administrators and festival organizers are beaming about the success of ALC’s annual Appalachia Day Homecoming. The event drew its largest crowd in years, which can be credited to excellent promotional efforts and exceptional weather. It was a perfect autumn day, and the College was able to present its schedule in exactly the way it had intended. An array of local artisans, musicians, and regional writers descended upon the banks of Caney Creek to offer alumni, current students, and campus guests a truly memorable occasion.
ALC was especially pleased to welcome back its alumni, many of whom traveled long distances just to spend another day in Pippa Passes. The Alumni Meeting was well-attended, and President Joe Stepp delighted in updating the crowd on the various, exciting activities and projects taking place on campus. Throughout the day, several alumni toured the recently-renovated McGaw Library and viewed the newly-installed Founder’s Shack Brick Plaza, which beautifully honors the many people who have reached out and supported the College.
The crowds were treated to the return of Mr. Doug Hutchens, long-time Appalachia Day emcee. Hutchens, along with his assistant Mr. Doug Waddells, brought a lot of joy to everyone as they introduced the day’s musical guests, which included festival-favorite New Mountain Harmony, the acoustic duo of Scott and Courtney Patrick, John Prine-lovers Josh and Kyle Hall, and ALC’s own Voices of Appalachia, among others. Mr. Bennie Moore, a much-beloved ALC alumnus whom many credit with helping to create Appalachia Day Homecoming, made a special appearance and took to the stage, singing a few songs for the day’s guests.
For the first time in a long while, Appalachia Day showcased a number of activities for children. There were Appalachian games, face-painting, crafts, and a production of the play The Adventures of Molly Whuppie by the College’s Caudill Players.
Appalachia Day Homecoming would not be complete without its sporting events. These games (basketball, baseball, and softball) pit current ALC Eagles against Eagles greats from the past. The Alice Lloyd College Athletics Hall of Fame also welcomed new members during this time. This year, five individuals were inducted — Mr. Jason R. Collins– Basketball, Miss Amy Dixon-Basketball, Mr. Jonathan Jett-Baseball, Mr. Jeff Lovely– Baseball, and Mr. Elmer Slone– Assistant Coach. And, during halftime of the Men’s Basketball showdown, ALC’s Homecoming ceremony witnessed the crowning of Amanda Whitman as Homecoming Queen and Kayla Sturdivant as Homecoming Princess.
The day ended with a rousing concert by The Penny Loafers, a quartet from Berea, KY. Known for their nearly flawless a capella harmonies, this event, which also doubled as a convocation for ALC students, was also a resounding success. Teresa Grender, ALC’s Director of Alumni Relations and one of the organizers of Appalachia Day Homecoming, said, “Many of our students referred to this convo as the College’s best ever.”
It was an enjoyably full and unforgettable day. Tiffany Owens-Combs, ALC’s newly appointed Director of Marketing and Communications, had this to say about her very first turn at helping to helm this extremely important occasion: “Appalachia Day 2012 was a great success. The campus community rallied together to put on a wonderful event. It’ll be hard to beat, but we’re excited to start planning for Appalachia Day 2013!”
Alice Lloyd College wishes to thank all of this year’s participants! We’re also deeply thankful to our Appalachia Day Homecoming Committee — all of you did an excellent job.